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June 2016

Alemtuzumab and Multiple Sclerosis: Another Note of Caution

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology, Biomedical Center and Klinikum Grosshadern, Munich, Germany
  • 2Munich Cluster of Systems Neurology (SyNergy), Munich, Germany
JAMA Neurol. 2016;73(6):637-638. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.0259

Alemtuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to CD52, a surface molecule expressed by many types of immune cells, including T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, monocytes, macrophages, and eosinophils.1-3 After intravenous infusion, the therapeutic antibody binds to CD52-expressing cells in blood and to a lesser extent in lymphoid organs. Antibody binding is followed by profound depletion of CD52-positive immune cells brought about by complement- and cell-mediated cytotoxic mechanisms. Of all the immunotherapies currently available for multiple sclerosis, alemtuzumab has the longest lasting effects on the immune system.

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